Fall checking in on the B/R app to properly celebrate "Tacko Tuesday" with an AMA session.
The rookie center discussed the start of his NBA career in Boston, his viral dance moves on TikTok and a wide variety of other topics, including his unplanned involvement in the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest.
What is your favorite game or play of your career?
My NBA career so far? I would say my first game and the first basket I had at Madison Square Garden. When the Knicks fans started cheering us on, that's when I knew. It's special when it happens in your arena, but crazier when you go to another arena and people are cheering you on.
@AndrewMayer777: What is it like playing with a powerhouse team like the Celtics?
I said this not too long ago—anytime I put on that jersey and I'm in the locker room and I see the Celtics logo on my chest, even though I haven't had that many opportunities this year...everytime I put on the jersey, I feel so incredible to think about all the greats that have put on the jersey, one of my favorites being Kevin Garnett. What they embodied, what they were about, the Larry Birds and Bill Russells. They put on the same jersey and on the same parquet. Boston fans are the best in the NBA.
@JCTheLit: Best stories about your teammates?
Most of them I can't talk about...I wouldn't say one specifically. In my opinion we have the tightest group in the NBA, from vets to rookies. We came in and they just took us all under their wing. They've been taking really good care of us, guys like Kemba, Marcus, Gordon. Even some of these vets, we're the same age...but they've done such a good job of making us rookies feel like we're a big part of the team. That's all you can ask.
@Not_Rudy_Gobert: What's your favorite part about Boston?
Boston is very old and has a lot of history, you can tell just driving around, it's really pretty. And the different seasons...it's my first year seeing the seasons change, fall and all of that. The leaves that change colors, that was really pretty. I used to drive a lot between Boston and Maine, and that drive was really amazing to look around. Some days it would snow and it's pretty white everywhere.
@vic4life: Were you nervous when AG was about to dunk over you?
I was scared, really scared. But I knew Aaron was a high-flyer. I've known Aaron for a few years now, seeing him around Orlando...I was like, Aaron, I trust you...but I was scared, yeah. It was not planned, I think he was trying to get Shaq, but Shaq turned around and was like "go get Tacko." The contest was either going to be a tie or Aaron was going to win it. And then none of that happened. I think everyone was surprised in the arena, especially the players.
@ky_james_13: Who do you want to dunk on? Any player in any era
Anybody. Whenever I step on the court...it doesn't matter who it is, I've just gotten that competitive where it doesn't matter who it is, I just try to dunk.
@Stephen__A_Smith: Who are your top 5 basketball players of all-time?
There's no way I can pick 5, there are so many. From the old school guys, I'm a big fan of Kareem, Bill Russell, Hakeem, Dikembe, Tim Duncan, LeBron…
@Vernstradamus: What did Coach K say to you after the NCAA Tourney game?
I didn't talk to Coach K. We shook hands after the game and he nodded at me, think that was it. But I know Coach K was really upset because I heard it from a few of his players...he was upset because Coach Dawkins is pretty much like a son to him...and it was so close and I feel like we should've won that game...the way we lost, I think it really touched Coach K.
That game was nuts. Obviously, it's Duke and everyone has Duke as the favorite, but deep down we knew what we were capable of doing. We were way older, had more experience...we knew as long as we played in our strength we'd have a chance to win the ball game. Honestly we just had nothing to lose. The guys came in and were locked in the whole time. Coach Dawkins had a great game plan that we followed to the book...some things are just meant to happen, other things aren't meant to happen. I guess we were meant to lose that game but a lot of positive things came out of it. UCF's name was put out there...we wanted to put our school on the map.
@MRFunFact: Who inspired you to play the game of basketball?
I would say a lot of people. I picked up the ball when I was 16, just happened randomly. A guy named Abraham runs an academy in Senegal...he saw me in the street one day, his brother is a huge basketball fan. One day after school a group of kids who used to hang out together, we just took the ball and started to go outside to an outdoor basketball court, all banged up with concrete floors...one day I went by myself and this guy comes up to me and says yo, I've been looking for you, can you come with me I know someone who wants to talk to you, he has an academy...I waited there for 30 min, he came with Abraham, said he would like for me to come and try it. He came and talked to my mom, he said your son should play basketball and I can help him, I can help him get a scholarship and go to the states, go to high school and continue his education. From there my mom was like okay, and six months later I was here. That's how my journey started.
But I wouldn't say when I first started I was that involved with the game because I was a big soccer fan growing up. My mom also put me in martial arts because she thought I was soft...basketball came in last. But once I came to the states, I just started playing and the more I was doing it, I just got so competitive I wanted to catch up. All these kids I was playing against played their whole life. At the beginning I was getting embarrassed...and then the pride started to kick in, so I started to study the game and from there I fell in love with it and the process of getting better and becoming the best basketball player I could possibly be.
@Steve_Perrault: You're getting that Tik Tok love now. What's your go-to dance move?
I don't have one. TikTok is just something I like to do for fun. Since we're in quarantine and everything, I'm on TikTok to just watch, then all of a sudden I thought maybe I should try it...one day I was like, why not do it? And it was really fun.
What is Tacko's Tall Tales all about?
Just remember when I was a kid, my mom and grandma used to read us African tales, things we enjoyed. All these American books, I've never heard of them, so thought it was a pretty good idea to just do it. At the same time, have kids participate in it and try to entertain them while everyone is staying at home.
@DumbDingus: What's it like being so tall?
It's all I've known, so I can't tell a difference. The only thing I'd say is, everything is made for people like you or some others, so I have to get used to a lot of things. But for the most part I'm very comfortable with my height.
@NBL21_bombasquad: What is the worst injury you have gotten from hitting your head?
Concussion. It actually happened at the beginning of the season I think. I was at the facility and I hit my head pretty hard. Some concussions take a week, others two weeks...think mine was close to a week or week and a half. Had to go through protocol and get it cleared.
@krock35: How tall were you in 5th grade?
I don't remember. I just know that the only time I wasn't the tallest in my class was in elementary school and the kid that was taller than me was way older than me. I was probably one of the youngest in my class.
@shank_s: How do you fit in your car?
My truck is pretty big and I feel pretty comfortable in it. There are definitely a lot of cars that wouldn't be possible for me.
@PhillyBoul: Do you like tacos?
@ky_james_13: Who's your celebrity crush?
Go-to pre-game song or soundtrack?
It depends on the mood of the day. Some days I really need to get hyped, so I would listen to very loud and kind of aggressive music, like DMX. The new rappers recently like Pop Smoke, though he just passed away, I would listen to that. Some other days I feel like I'm too hyped and need to relax, so I'll listen to old school R&B, reggae like Bob Marley, or Lauryn Hill. Some other days I miss home so I'll listen to African music.